South Dakota Supreme Court
Chief Justice David E. Gilbertson
Chief Justice Gilbertson was elected to a 4-year term as Chief Justice by the members of the Supreme Court in September 2001, was re-elected to a second
4-year term as Chief Justice by the members of the Supreme Court in June 2005, a third 4-year term in June 2009, a fourth 4-year term in June 2013 and a
fifth 4-year term in 2017. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in April 1995 to represent the Fifth Supreme Court District, which includes Brown, Butte,
Campbell, Clark, Codington, Corson, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Edmunds, Faulk, Grant, Hamlin, Harding, Marshall, McPherson, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Spink,
Walworth and Ziebach counties, and was retained by the voters in the 1998, 2006 and 2014 general elections.
Chief Justice Gilbertson received his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University in 1972 and his Juris Doctor from the University of South
Dakota, School of Law in 1975. He engaged in private practice from 1975 until his appointment to the circuit court bench in 1986. He served as a Circuit
Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 1986 until his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1995.
He served as President of the Conference of Chief Justices for the 2015-2016 Term. He has previously held the positions of Board Member, First-Vice
President and President-elect and has chaired various committees. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Center for
State Courts for its 2015-2016 Term. From 2010 to 2016 he served as the state court representative of the Criminal Rules Committee of the United States
Courts. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts for his defense of judicial independence.
He was the recipient of the “Grass Roots” Award by the American Bar Association in 2014 also for his defense of judicial independence. He is the past
President of the South Dakota Judges Association. He also serves on the Judicial-Bar Liaison Committee of the State Bar Association and has served as a
Court Counselor at South Dakota Boys State since 1995. Chief Justice Gilbertson and his wife Deb, have four children.
Justice Steven L. Zinter
Justice Zinter, of Pierre, was appointed to the Supreme Court on April 2, 2002 by former Governor William J. Janklow. He received his Bachelor
of Science degree from the University of South Dakota and his Juris Doctor from the University of South Dakota School of Law. Upon graduation
from law school in 1972, Justice Zinter was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of South Dakota from 1975-1978. From 1978 to 1986 he
was engaged in the private practice with the law firm of Schmidt, Schroyer, Colwill, Zinter & Barnett, P.C. Justice Zinter also served as the
Hughes County State’s Attorney from 1980-1986. He was appointed as a Circuit Judge in 1987 and served in that capacity until 1997. In 1997 he
was appointed Presiding Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit and served in that capacity until his appointment to the Supreme Court to represent
the Third Supreme Court District, which includes Beadle, Bennett, Brookings, Brule, Buffalo, Fall River, Haakon, Hand, Hughes, Hyde, Jackson,
Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lyman, Mellette, Miner, Moody, Sanborn, Oglala Lakota, Stanley, Sully, Todd and Tripp counties. Justice Zinter
was retained by the voters in 2006 and 2014. Justice Zinter is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar Association, and the
South Dakota Judges Association. He is a past trustee of the Harry S. Truman Foundation along with a number of other boards and commissions.
Justice Zinter and his wife have two children and four grandchildren.
Justice Glen A. Severson
Justice Severson, represents the Second Supreme Court District, which includes Minnehaha County. He attended the University of South Dakota
receiving a B.S. in 1972 and the University of South Dakota, School of Law receiving a Juris Doctor degree in 1975. He was a member of the
Fingerson and Severson Law Firm from 1983 to 1992 and served as the Huron City Attorney from 1977-1991 and a Beadle County Deputy States
Attorney in 1975. He was appointed a Circuit Judge in the Second Circuit in 1993 and served as Presiding Judge from 2002 until his appointment
to the Supreme Court. Justice Severson was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009 after sixteen years on the trial bench and was retained by
the voters in 2012. He is a member of the American Bar Association, South Dakota Bar Association and Second Circuit Bar Association. He served
in the South Dakota Air National Guard from 1967-1973. He was a member of the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources (1986-1992)
and has served on a number of other boards and commissions. Justice Severson and his wife Mary have two children, Thomas and Kathryn.
Justice Lori S. Wilbur
Justice Wilbur, appointed to the Supreme Court on August 16, 2011, by Governor Dennis Daugaard, represents the Fourth Supreme Court District,
which includes Aurora, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Davison, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Lincoln, McCook, Turner, Union, and
Yankton counties. Justice Wilbur was retained by the voters in 2014. She attended the University of South Dakota receiving a Bachelor of
Arts degree in 1974 and the University of South Dakota, School of Law, receiving a Juris Doctor degree in 1977. She served as a law clerk
for the South Dakota Supreme Court for Honorable Laurence J. Zastrow; was an assistant Attorney General; General Counsel, South Dakota
Board of Regents; Staff Attorney, South Dakota Legislative Research Council; and Legal Counsel, South Dakota Bureau of Personnel. She is a
member and past President of the South Dakota Judges Association, past member and Secretary of the Judicial Qualifications Commission and
a member of the Rosebud Bar Association. She served as a Law-Trained Magistrate Judge, Sixth Circuit 1992-1999; Circuit Court Judge, Sixth
Circuit, 1999-2011; and Presiding Judge, Sixth Circuit, 2007 – 2011. Justice Wilbur has two daughters and two grandchildren.
Justice Janine M. Kern
Justice Kern, who was appointed to the Supreme Court on November 25, 2014, by Governor Dennis Daugaard, represents the First Supreme Court
District, which includes Custer, Lawrence, Meade and Pennington counties. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 from Arizona
State University and her a Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1985. Justice Kern worked in the Attorney General’s
office from 1985–1996 serving in a variety of capacities including the appellate division, drug prosecution unit and as Director of the
Litigation Division. She was appointed a Circuit Court Judge in 1996 in the Seventh Judicial Circuit comprised of Custer, Fall River, Oglala
Lakota and Pennington Counties and served 18 years on the trial court bench. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the National
Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the State Bar Association, the Pennington County Bar Association, the American Bar Association
Fellows and past President of the South Dakota Judges Association. She served on the Council of Juvenile Services from 2004–2013 and on the
Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice from 2004–2008 and on numerous other boards and commissions. Justice Kern and her husband
Greg Biegler make their home in the beautiful Black Hills.